Many, many thanks to the guest bloggers who generously gave me a week off - Clyde, Beth-Ann, Anna, Joanne, Renee and Cynthia.
And Happy President's Day!
One of the modern perks of being President of the United States is that once you've served your time in office you won't have to go through the ordeal of downsizing, trying to figure out what to keep and what to throw away from the vast assortment of the garbage you've collected over the course of a (hopefully) long and (clearly) productive life. The matter is already settled. All your papers and everything you touched, including your childhood toys (Rosebud!), will be enshrined in your very own Presidential Library!
Presidential Libraries and Museums have been established to house the collected debris of the administrations of John Quincy Adams, Abraham Lincoln, Rutherford Hayes, William McKinley, Woodrow Wilson, Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, FDR, Harry Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, JFK, LBJ, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush I, Clinton and Bush II (under construction).
Eisenhower's library is in Abeline, Kansas - his family home from about the time little Dwight was 2.
It has a crisp low profile with full-height columuns that add importance and an element of grandeur. The overall effect is serious but not too showy, in keeping with the image of our 34th president.
The JFK library is in Boston where he attended college. Kennedy picked the location personally just a few weeks before he was assassinated. Unlike the Eisenhower library, this facility calls attention to itself. In this picture, the I.M. Pei designed building is lit like a NASA rocket on the launch pad.
Herbert Hoover's library is in West Branch, Iowa. The building is one of several on the Herbert Hoover Historic Site, which includes the 2 room cottage where he was born. There are probably dentists' offices in suburban strip malls around Des Moines that look a lot like the Hoover library entrance pictured here.
The odds are good that no Trial Balloon readers will ever have to plan their own presidential library, but if you did ... where would you locate it and what would it look like?
Remember that any point in your life is fair game. Presidents are claimed by all the places they lived, even if they weren't very good presidents. But the libraries themselves speak to the nature of their time in office.
I think mine would be just outside Decatur, Illinois where I spent my formative teen years, and it would be built into the earth on a south facing hillside so it would be incredibly energy efficient and also mostly invisible, unless you were looking for it. People would say the Connelly Library is so appropriate for him - scrupulously unobtrousive. In four years he didn't give a single speech (that I can remember).
How about you?